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Shopping through a war on terrorism

            It’s been quite a week. As casualties increase in the Iraq war and the war grinds on in spite of President Bush’s landing on the air craft carrier in a jet plane announcing “mission accomplished”, people are becoming increasingly disillusioned with a government that lied to them.

           Pre-emptive war is necessary intoned the Bushies because Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, is linked to Al-Quaeda, and is in imminent threat to the United States. Turns out these were all lies. When this is pointed out, President Bush blames “bad intelligence” but then gives the Director of the CIA, George Tenent, the Medal Of Freedom, because he did such a great job lying to him.

            The Downing Street Memo describes an understanding in Britain that President Bush was planning war from the beginning of his Presidency and that 9/11 just made it possible to justify an action he already was wanting to take.

            As of August, 2005, there have been over 1800 Americans killed and 13,000 physically wounded, and it is estimated that as many as 30% of the soldiers who have served have behavioral health problems.

            It’s hard to know what’s worse, the war, death and destruction, or the lies. We asked around in Anytown, USA.

            “Kill the bastards”, said Elmer Sandbagger. “They come over here and run planes in our buildings, somebody’s got to pay. We Americans don’t take this kind of thing lying down. I don’t know who them camel jockeys think they are. Just because they’re sitting on oceans of oil, they think they can run the world. I don’t believe for a minute this is a holy war. The Koran doesn’t tell them to go kill people. A few lunatic Imans have manipulated a few holy rollers into acts of terrorism and a holy war. Our religious leaders don’t do that here.

            Jennifer Goldigger said, “My stocks have soared. I just love the industrial military cooperation that has benefited our economy and is making the world safe for freedom and democracy at the same time. I’m doing so well, that I just went out and bought a Humvee. It is totally awesome to drive. I sit way above everyone else, and I don’t worry at all any more about an accident. Like President Bush, when I’m on the interstate, and it is congested and people are driving crazy, I just say, ‘Bring em on’.

            Roy Christian seems ecstatic these days. He said, “This is the religious war of the millennium. This is the  war of Islam and Christianity. I mean, it’s kind of like the Crusades all over again, because we are taking the war to them. Like President Bush said, it’s better to be fighting terrorism in Iraq than here in the United States. Of course, the Londoners are used to it having a history with the IRA and those damn Catholics blowing up buildings and stuff.”

            Ted Marketer opined, “Bush’s approval ratings are down, but the public is fickle and other than flashing survey results on the 6:00 news, nobody pays much attention to them anyway. I liked Bush’s line about the best thing Americans can do to fight terrorism is to keep shopping. That Bush is a true American. That’s why he got re-elected. People don’t care so much about good and evil as they do about their material comfort and as long as that isn’t disturbed, Bush will do Okay. Price of gas is trouble though. So far, middle and upper class Americans don’t care. One lady told me that she paid 50 grand for her Cadillac Esplanade and she plans to drive the damn thing if gas goes to $10.00 a gallon. It might take a few more years, but she just might get her wish.”

            For the most part, people around Anytown, USA don’t seem to be too worried about the war, and the death, and the destruction. As long as they aren’t personally affected, they seem to feel helpless and have lost interest. The politicians, the senators and the congress people, roll over and play dead, the local clergy say nary a word, and life goes on as usual except for the immediate families of the soldiers whose lives have been disrupted.

            And that’s how it is this week in Anytown where Elmer wants to kill people because he is pissed, Jennifer is enriching her retirement portfolio with companies that make weapons and cater to the war industry, Roy is dreaming of Armageddon, Ted thinks the Bushies have spun the war story perfectly telling people the best thing they can do is shop, and we at Markham’s Behavioral Health wonder through our tears what planet we are living on.


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